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Yoshifumi Kondō (近藤 喜文, Kondō Yoshifumi, March 31, 1950 – January 21, 1998) was a Japanese animator who worked for Studio Ghibli in his last years. He was born in Gosen, Niigata Prefecture, Japan.

He worked as an animation director on Anne of Green Gables, Sherlock Hound, Kiki's Delivery Service, Only Yesterday and Princess Mononoke. Kondō directed the animated film Whisper of the Heart, and was expected to become one of the top directors at Studio Ghibli, alongside Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and to become their eventual successor.

Kondō died of aortic dissection – alternately aneurysm – in 1998. His death seems to be the main reason for Hayao Miyazaki's first announcement of retirement in 1998, although Miyazaki later returned to Studio Ghibli.

History

Kondō was born in Gosen, Niigata Prefecture, Japan on March 31, 1950. He entered Niigata Prefectural Muramatsu High School in April, 1965, where he was a member of the art club. His senpai was the future manga artist Kimio Yanagisawa. In April, 1968, he moved to Tokyo after graduating from high school, where he entered Tokyo Design College's animation department. On October 1, 1968, he began working at A Production (formerly Shin'ei Dōga), participating in the production of such shows as Kyojin no Hoshi and Lupin III. Kondo moved to Nippon Animation in June 1978, participating in the production of such shows as Future Boy Conan and Anne of Green Gables.

In 1978, he co-authored a textbook for beginning animators titled Animation Book (アニメーションの本 Animēshon no Hon). He moved to Telecom Animation Film on December 16, 1980, where he worked as the character designer for Sherlock Hound. On March 16, 1985, Kondō resigned from his position at Telecom Animation Film, and was hospitalized from June through August for a type of pneumonia (自然気胸 shizen kikyō). He became a contract worker for Nippon Animation afterwards and moved to Studio Ghibli in January, 1987. In 1995, he made his directorial debut with the film Whisper of the Heart.

On January 21, 1998, he died suddenly of an aortic dissection in the Tachikawa City Hospital in Tokyo at age 47. Doctors said that the aneurysm had been brought on by overwork.

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